Staying… in Kent

If you like to take your holidays on the other side of the English Channel, then you may well have passed through Kent, on the way to a ferry port, such as Dover, or the Channel Tunnel, near Folkestone.  But if you have just passed through on a motorway then you have not really seen Kent – let’s have a look around.

To get a view you need a hill and there’s a whole line of them running through Kent – the North Downs.  This ridge of high land is made of chalk.  It runs west to east across Kent, reaching the sea in chalk cliffs – the white cliffs of Dover!

South of the North Downs is the Weald.  The land rises here too, but not by as much as the Downs.  Both areas have AONB designation.

The county town, Maidstone, is located on Kent’s main river, the River Medway.  Downstream from Maidstone, the river’s valley cuts across the North Downs, towards the Thames estuary. 

By the river mouth you will find Chatham, where Queen Elizabeth I established the Royal Dockyard, within the shelter of the river.  Chatham was also strategic for land transport being located where the ancient London to Dover route, (later paved by the Romans to form Watling Street), crossed over the Medway.

The Kent coastline extends from the Thames Estuary round into the English Channel.  There are many other ports, both historic and modern, and a fair share of seaside resorts. 

And with France only just over 20 miles away, see if you can spot any defensive structures.  Dover has an amazing castle, but you’ll find Martello towers and pillboxes all along the coast.

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